RCOT 2018 Blog 5 Sess 33.1 – Exploring the theraputic potential of the team sport of boccia occupation station

This session was led by Lyndset from Sport for Confidence @sportforconf

Session aims were to:
  • Explore the use of boccia as a theraputic activity
  • Discuss potential uses of boccia as an assessment tool in terms of activity analysis
  • Have a go and experience the sport of boccia
It all started with being introduced to boccia, pronounced bot-cha. A game of one jack, two teams, red and blue, six balls per side and a fiercly competitive bunch of occupational therapists.
Lyndsey Barrett, an occupational therapist from Essex is the founder of Sport for Confidence, an organisation aiming to involve people with and without learning disabilities in sport. They recently worked alongside the Royal College of Occupational Therapists to produce an evidence guidelines based on using boccia as an assesment and intervention tool.
The occupation station itself was aimed at getting occupational therapists thinking about the activity of boccia and it’s relevance in assesment. What better way to do it than to give it a go?
Que the group being split into two and the first lot of attendees sat on the edge of their chairs throwing like they’ve never thrown before. The jack was launched into the middle and the first few balls added into the mix, red team had an early lead and the blue team (myself included) were struggling to catch up. Much debate and conversation went on, a few woops and cheers and the reds were united in their victory before we all had to get up and shake hands. The red team had won 3-0.
Then came the team swap, the next 8 were up. But here’s when the competition took on another level, red went first and a tactical move by blue knocked it out. The teams matched each other play by play but in the last moment the jack was moved and blue took it 2-0. Again the victors celebrated before the teams stood up and shook hands.
But, what relevance does this have to occupational therapy you say?
Core to occupational therapy is activity analysis. At some point along our educational journey we were taught about breaking activities down into the skills used to perform the activity.
Boccia provides a perfect platform to asses a person’s strength, endurance, turn taking,  communication skills and many more. Within moments of watching the game it was easy to spot people repositioning themselves to throw, working out the required strength to throw the ball, considering their options and socially becoming part of a team.
The session brought with it a powerful reminder of the skill of activity analysis and unique role occupational therapy can provide in the area. The sport itself is simple, easily graded or forward and backward chained and an asset to the occupational therapy toolkit.
This blog was written by @Amie_OT Current RCOT Education Liaison Officer
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